a ChUrCh ReAdY fOr HiM!

Invitation was made.  Call was clear.  Green lights were plenty.  Homework was done.  Board was set.  Mentors agreed.  Friends encouraged.  People liked and even began to follow and to pray.  You said “go ahead!” Our hearts are ready and willing.  And at this moment the transition seems to be in a “wait” mode, though we know You are working behind the scenes!

In our wait, today the approval to “be a church” was finalized and we continue to plan for a church start up!

We must sell our big house in order to physically move forward, but we know that You have a perfect timing and plan for all, and so we wait — for the house to sell, and for You to work in us, and for You to orchestrate a church body, and ultimately …… for You to come!

The words to  Chris Tomlin’s song ran through my head and we played it together and prayed together that the words of this song would depict our church.  That we would be “ready for You” to come at any minute and to operate with that in mind, and that we would keep the main thing in view that You are in fact “coming soon!”  We will work to not be so busy about “church” that we forget why we are even doing church in the first place.  It is for one reason alone …… because You are coming soon!

EVEN SO COME, by Chris Tomlin

All of creation
All of the earth
Make straight a highway
A path for the Lord
Jesus is coming soon
Call back the sinner
Wake up the saint
Let every nation
Shout of Your fame
Jesus is coming soon
Like a bride
Waiting for her groom
We’ll be a church
Ready for You
Every heart longing for our King
We sing
Even so come
Lord Jesus come
Even so come
Lord Jesus come
There will be justice
All will be new
Your name forever
Faithful and true
Jesus is coming soon
Like a bride
Waiting for her groom
We’ll be a church
Ready for You
Every heart longing for our King
We sing
Even so come
Lord Jesus come
Even so come
Lord Jesus come
So we wait
We wait for You
God we wait
You’re coming soon
So we wait
We wait for You
God we wait
You’re coming soon

YoU tRuLy LoVe Me!

Prasing-Almighty-God-our-Father-3-god-the-creator-19486614-500-353

I am so very grateful to be learning about You!  I am studying in Genesis, Your book of beginnings; and there You are showing Yourself very clearly.  Through the first story of Adam & Eve that I have known since a child, I am learning the backstory and the after story and the depth of the story!  Your Word is so full — it is a mine waiting to unveil treasure!  And treasure I have found!

The backstory is CREATION!  You created all with a word in the beginning — You are powerful and creative!  You are thoughtful and a provider!  You are establisher and care-taker.   The after story is CAIN & ABEL.  You blessed the first parents ever with children.  But because of sin entering the world through Adam there is chaos in the first generation — murder!  And then the depth of the story is what I learn about You in the story of ADAM & EVE right in between the two stories!

I see that You are consistent in your dealings.  The stories are very similar between how You dealt with Adam & Eve and how You dealt with Cain.  You said to Cain after he murdered his brother, “where is your brother?” “why so angry and sad?” “what have you done?” and “now you are cursed”.  To Adam & Eve after eating from the forbidden tree of the knowledge of good and evil, You said “where are you?” “who told you you were naked…did you eat?” “what have you done?” and “cursed is the ground.”  VERY similar!

And every word has love written all over it.  The way You dealt with them is not unlike how You deal with me.  So when I personalize this, from those statements I learn that:
          You care to inquire of my whereabouts (caring)
          You take time to inquire of my state of being, my heart and my actions (protective)
          You call me to be responsible for my choices (prosecutor)
          You punish to prove that You hold me to Your standards (righteous judge)

In meditating on who You are and how You truly love your children, I found myself writing two letters — one that I am glad You did not send, and the other that clearly depicts Your true love!

Dear Adam & Eve,
I know that you are my kids, but I don’t really care where you are or what you do because you have your own life to live.  I mean, our time in the garden has been good, but now you probably just would rather do your own thing.  I’m not going to intrude with questions like “who told you so?” or “did you do what I said not to do?”  You are capable of deciding right from wrong for yourselves and I will not look over your shoulder and ask questions like “what have you done?” because it is a free world and I am sure you have a plan all your own.  As for a curse — that is really old school.  The way it works best is when everyone decides for themselves what works for them and then that eliminates any negative consequences and actually makes the world a happier place for everyone, and I want you to be happy!  As for where you go and what you become that lies on you, and I am sure you will do just fine.  After all with no one to tell you “no” or bother you by looking over your shoulder, or holding you to task, or making any restrictions on you — you are free to be whatever you want to be!  So run free — I have no grip on you because that is how I love you!

Dear Adam & Eve,
I am so grateful that you are my kids and because I truly love you so deeply, I care where you are and what you do.  Our time together in the garden was very good, but now you have made a decision and because of my great love for you, I will inquire of your whereabouts, and I will call you to task to be responsible for that decision.  You do have a freewill to choose, but when you choose wrong, I will inquire because I care about your destiny, probably even more than you do.  I have created this world for you to enjoy and I have a plan for you.  As for a curse, that is merely the proof of my love for you.  The consequences are meant to showcase to you my standard that is steadfast and unchanging, and to prove how very much I desire your holiness in this world, even above your happiness.  As for where you go and what you become, “I have great plans for you, to give you a future and a hope.”  I will use the word “no” from time to time, but it will always be very clear and consistent, and I promise always to watch over you and to provide for you.  Though I do not apologize for making restrictions, you will find that in following Me you are absolutely free — you are free to be all that I have created you to be!  So run free, but know that “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go” because that is how I love you!”

Thank you for the way You truly love me!

sHoRtChAnGeD or oVeRpAiD

IMG_0692

Would You give me a “real life lesson” anytime I ask?  I just asked yesterday!

And then this morning while on the treadmill at the gym I noticed some bills that someone had left behind.  I left them in the cup holder as I worked out, thinking the owner might return for them.  In an effort to make the most of my time and multi-task, I read a post on Facebook as I walked my rolling hills.  The post said,

“None of us have been shortchanged … we have all been overpaid — especially those of us who have found a friend in Jesus!” (Thx Joi)

I looked down at the bills and the lesson was very clear!  I thought to myself, I must do something with this “overpayment.”  And I will!  I will carry it around until You point out what I am to do with it!

In the meantime, I have a lesson in my pocket — much bigger than two $5 bills!  In the spiritual sense, I have been WAY overpaid!!  Every day I’m awake, every hour I move, every moment I’m alive . . . because Jesus paid a debt I owed and could not pay, with His own precious blood when He died for my sins on the cross.

And so that moves me to consider what do I do with this “overpayment?”  Because although I could never repay it, much good could be accomplished for the kingdom, if I lived out my days trying!

God please cause me to live out this challenge every single day of my life.

“But commended His love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!”  Romans 5:8

“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.”  II Cor 5:20

YoU mAkE mE gLaD

IMG_0122

“You TRULY DO satisfy me in the morning with your unfailing love so that I sing for joy and am glad all my days!”  Ps 90:14 (my personalization with emphasis added)

With a storm raging so out of control that I seriously do not know what to do, I am running to You!  And when I do, I find You — You are never hard to find and You not only are “there” when I look to You, but You always “know what to say”, You “know what will console me”, and You “know how to advise me.”  So why would I turn anywhere else and why would I not always turn to You!!!!

I love my prayer closet, and even though You can be found anywhere, I have fond moments of finding You in my prayer closet — it is really the only place where the world goes silent, my responsibilities are set aside, and those who need me  momentarily disappear, and it is just You and me!

This morning I ran across the verse again that You picked out just for me two months ago.   From it, You gave me a song as I rode along the beach on my bike, and without even having to write it down it has become part of my repertoire for praising You . . . because YOU MAKE ME (sooooo) GLAD!!!!  It is taken from Psalm 90. 

          In these days there is trouble, and much affliction to endure,
          though there is evil all around me I’m secure, so make me glad…..
          make me glad, make me glad, make me glad, make me glad, make me glad
          make me glad, make me glad!  (wish a blog could capture the tune!)

          I know in it you show Your power and through it You are working,
          all things for my good….. so make me glad, make me glad, make me glad,
          make me glad, make me glad, make me glad, make me glad!

          Plant in me a heart of wisdom and teach me how to number my days,
          satisfy me every morning with your love,……. and make me glad, make me glad,
          make me glad, make me glad, make me glad, make me glad, make me glad!

          So I’ll rejoice all of my days and do the work you have assigned,
          with your favor upon me I am glad …….  You make me glad, You make me glad,
          You make me glad, You make me glad, You make me glad, You make me glad,
          YOU MAKE ME (sooooooooo) GLAD!!!!!!!

Though singing does not dissolve the storm, it does set a resolve in my heart to joyfully wait on You.    I’ll not make a single move without consulting You, because You and only You know the way through.

“This God, our God forever and ever — He will ALWAYS LEAD US!”  Ps 48:14

R&R iN cHatTaNoOgA

From seat 9A on American Eagle flight #3276 headed for Chattanooga, all alone in my window seat, cruising at an altitude low enough to see a clear view of the picturesque landscape below, though buckled in my seat, I know what the cliche must mean to “feel light as a feather and free as a bird!”  With all cares of the world literally left miles behind me, I am stealing away for some much needed R&R.  It is good to get out of the hamster wheel on occasion and see new scenery, meet new friends, think about new possibilities, and make new memories.  For the next four days I will attend the Fall Conference with Kay Arthur at Precept Ministries and do just that.

Thanks for a husband wonderful enough to see beyond his own comfort and willing to see life through my eyes.  Though sending me to Chattanooga meant he would care for our 7 year old blind grandson and all his needs for four days, be the taxi-driver and overseer of our 15 year old high schooler on a busy homecoming weekend, get everyone fed and to their respective destinations, in addition to his normal duties, he still thought of me!  He knew how much it would mean to me, but that I had made the practical decision to stay home, and he went ahead and booked me a flight.
The fact that there was still a “miles” flight available only 11 days before the flight that only cost $10, a spot left in the conference room (which does sell out each year and was sold out when someone checked only days after), and a room available in the hotel of my choice (when it was not available last year even months ahead) were confirmations of a trip meant to be.  Then came the bonus!  In a single day, thinking there was no possible way Janey could join me at this late notice, she wanted to go, she was available to go, she got a pass to fly standby, and her conference fee was covered.  Sometimes You are so gracious, and always You light the way!
IMG_4774
We are so excited to celebrate Kay’s 80th birthday with her, and have brought a gift (package of cards) to shower her with love and thanks from our class!   Her ministry has established us in the Word and we will never be the same because of it!  God you must have a very special crown for one who has loved your Word so deeply and cared about your gospel so sincerely!  I have never had a hero before, but Kay is my hero and I love her for what she has taught me!
When I met her in 2008 and was given the privilege of being the speaker escort, I watched and listened in awe.  She spoke from Jeremiah 2.   Like the Israelites we not only forget that You are the “living water” but we live our life digging our own cisterns — “broken cisterns that cannot hold water!”  I loved the truth in the analogy!   She studies so intently and draws out so much and commands the use of the Scripture with such proficiency.  When she signed my Bible at the end of that Bible Conference, I told her I wanted to know the Scripture like she does and she responded, “just keep studying with me inductively, and you will!”  I have been at it for 7 years now and I will continue till heaven because it holds me accountable in the Word and takes me deeper than anything I have ever done before!  And so I am grateful for Precept Ministries, and I am grateful to Kay!  God bless her richly!
In 20 minutes I will land in Chattanooga and my four day R&R adventure will continue!  Thanks for this gift — I accept it with a very satisfied heart!

iN tHe EyE oF tHe StOrM

IMG_3987

Life is NOT always a bowl full of cherries….like most of our photographs portray — sometimes it requires pulling out everything you have been taught and holding on tight.

“Don’t retaliate …. take the high road ….. take everything to God in prayer …. think more of others than yourself ….  God knows what is around the corner so trust Him …. God will never give you more than you can handle …. rest in Him …. let Him be your strength when yours is gone …. joy will come in the morning!”

I feel a little like Moses; incapable for the task at hand, and certainly not appreciated for it.  This storm is swirling around me with case workers, liaisons, attorneys, teachers, aids, agencies, social workers, doctors, specialists, appointments and schedules.  But my hands are tied and it seems I cannot do what I want to do, or need to do, or think I should do — I must wait!

So if I must wait, I want to wait purposefully and will do so clinging to a familiar passage in Isaiah 40:31 that is full of “on purpose verbage”.

“But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint!”  (NKJV)

WAIT – I will sit tight IN YOUR WORD DAILY and count on You to guide me!!

MOUNT UP – I will LEAN ON YOU and not my own strength – “get on my cross”

RUN – I will RUN TO YOU and stay close to You — I need you — You are my hope!

WALK – I will SURRENDER TO YOUR WILL as I go — Your way, not mine!

You see everything God — You know the best equipped army cannot save a king, the warrior does not escape by his great strength, and the warhorse cannot be depended upon for victory; but You are the One who can be depended upon to deliver those who fear You and hope in You.  I am “waiting in hope” and You are my help, my shield and my joy.   Psalm 33

Thank you for having the wisdom to allow what You could certainly prevent, to keep me dependent upon You, and to work in my life to make me just a little bit more like You!  I am trusting You while I wait….in the eye of this storm!

bRaIn A’wHiRl

Lately at the very most initial onset as my brain becomes cognitive of the fact that I am transitioning from sleep to awake, I realize even before the transition is complete, that I am talking to You about all the needs that are a’whirl in my brain.   I am so glad I don’t have to worry about waking You or wondering if You mind the hour that I want to talk.  Before I am even fully awake, and even if it is still the middle of the night, You are already listening to me.

Thank you for meeting my need so thoroughly through the Godhead.

As God, my Heavenly Father, You are sovereign over all.  “You do not slumber or sleep” (Ps 121) but rather You are ever present and always available.    You are Master of the Universe knowing all, having power over all, and capable of being present in all.   My favorite quote of all time shows You off quite nicely.  “If human beings could only faintly comprehend the immeasurable distance between God and our own insignificance, they would not have the colossal impertinence to question God’s ways or His will;  they would simply bow to the truth of the Sovereignty of God”  Irving Jensen.    Thanks for being “all that” but still recognizing me as significant as I fit into Your plan for me, and thanks for being so vast, yet willing and able to reside in my heart and to hear my heart’s cry.

As Jesus, my Savior, You  are the reason I can intercede at all.  You died for me so I could have relationship with You.  You left Your throne in heaven at the right side of God Your Father because You loved me so very much.  And not just me, but an entire world, even those who do not love you back!  Thank you for “dying once for all” and “shedding your precious blood” (Heb 9:11-12) for the purpose of saving me when I was helpless to do so myself.  Help me to remember this costly gift you have given, and how You actually “purchased me for God” (Rev 5:9-10) so that I treasure it for myself and share it with all those you place in my path, so that we all may one day also sit on God’s throne and rule and reign with Him along with You forever!

As Holy Spirit, my Helper through life and Teacher and Comforter and Translator, I don’t have to do any of this life alone!  I would be so much less effective in this role as an Ambassador without the Holy Spirit.  You have a more active role in my life than I even realize or give credit.  You are such a “behind the scenes” asset!  I could not even do what I do without You.  The very first Christians in Acts “received power after the Holy Spirit had come upon them” (Acts 1:8) and Your formula has never changed.  When I walk without You I give up a power that could be mine if I would rather appropriate what is available through You.

IMG_2453

“Deep calls to deep at the sound of your waterfalls.  All your breakers and your waves  have rolled over me. The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime and His song will be with me in the night…..a prayer to the God of my life”  Psalm 42:7-8

Thanks for being the three-in-one God of my life, capable of comprehending and handling and steering me through all that this life brings across my path on my way to You!